Laura's Lasagna

My friend Laura had us over for dinner one night and made this amazing lasagna.  She said she came up with the recipe when she started dating her husband in college.  Clearly it won his heart, as it did mine, and my husband's. The next time Laura invited us over for dinner she asked what we'd like and Jared and I begged her to make this lasagna again.  It is the best I've ever had.  She was sweet enough to share her recipe with me, and allow me to share it with you.

This is one of those recipes with no precise's a handful here, a pinch there.  It's one of those recipes that is truly homemade.  While you make it drink a glass of red wine, dance to some good music and enjoy every moment of filling this dish with love for your family.  It's that good!

Laura's warning:  This looks complicated but it's not. It's super easy; it's just a lot of steps.

Laura's Lasagna
These were Laura's direct instructions, with a few notes from me.

  • 2 lbs lean ground beef (I used ground turkey)
  • Several gloves of garlic
  • 3 jars Ragu tomato, garlic, onion sauce (I used the chunky kind).  You won't use all three, but it's  
    • better to be safe and have enough. 
  • 1 package Barrilla no boil lasagna noodles or boiled ones. Either one. Or fresh if you can find it.  
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 15 oz container of ricotta cheese. You can use the part skim kind if you want.
  • 4 cups (usually 2 packages) mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan
  • basil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • zucchini & sliced portabella mushrooms - if desired (Desire! This makes it so good, and I don't even like vegetables)

Get your assembly line ready:

If boiling noodles, get that started now.
If using the no boil, which are great, don't worry!
If using fresh - wet each noodle with warm water and pat try with a towel just before assembling each layer later on.
If using frozen/fresh noodles, thaw before hand and wet like above before assembling.

Heat pan and add some garlic. (I used nearly an entire bulb and still could have used more)
Add meat and chopped up into small pieces.  Brown.
Add two jars of sauce and let simmer.

If using zucchini and/or mushrooms, slice and sautee in olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, and basil (just a few pinches of each).
Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk 2 eggs.
Add the ricotta and 2 cups mozzarella.
Add 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
Take off your rings and mix it all together with your hands.

Spray the bottom and sides of 9x13 pan

Spread a layer of meat sauce along the bottom of pan
Lay one layer of noodles down (usually about 4 noodles) **See above if using fresh noodles**
Spread more sauce
Add layer of cheese - It's much easier to spread with your hand (use about 1/3 to 1/2)
Add noodles
Add sauce
Add more cheese
*If adding zucchini or mushrooms, add those now in one thin layer
One more layer of noodles
**Press down to get rid of air bubbles
Add sauce.  If you are running low on sauce, open 3rd jar and spread that sauce. This sometimes happens. (I used almost all 3 jars)
Spread remaining 2 cups of mozzarella and Parmesan on top.

Tear off large sheet of tin foil and spray side touching lasagna with Pam spray
Cover tightly with foil
**I usually set the lasagna pan on a cookie sheet, because it almost always boils over a bit**

Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.

After 45 minutes, remove foil and let top get bubbly and brown a bit. (broil for a few minutes is great for this)

Remove from over and let stand for about 10 minutes.